Friday, August 29, 2014

"Entrails" by Rachael Dunlap Ratliff

I stumbled on "Entrails" at Blue Mesa Review and was immediately sucked in. It was the horror in the fine details of skinning rabbits that got me. In her bio Rachael Dunlap Ratliff admits that this is her first published story and it does read like the work of a new writer, but there's also some really good stuff in this, not the least of which is the rabbit business, but also some fine phrasing like "Grant's eyebrows bent toward one another...."

So this story made me ponder two things, the first being the age old question about whether it is indeed possible to teach fiction writing. I think to a great extent writing is teachable. I also believe all writers are obliged to learn about writing, always, forever. But there's no doubt that some writers, like Dunlop Ratliff, are just naturally gifted.

The second thing that this story had me considering was the idea of introducing readers to fascinating worlds they might never know otherwise, like the world of skinning rabbits. The detail with which Dunlap Ratliff describes this emotionally complicated work is fascinating, powerful and even a bit educational. And this is why I liked it so much, and why I'm sharing it today.

So..., now I'm going to spend some time staring into space, trying to figure out what it is that I know about so intimately that a reader might like to learn, and that I might include in a story. This could take a while.

In the meantime, enjoy "Entrails."    

Rachael Dunlap Ratliff 

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